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Exploring the 3D and AI Trends of 2023 with Gospooky


The social tech agency speaks to LBB’s Nisna Mahtani about the trends they anticipate seeing more of and how they found a gap in the market to fill with content

Exploring the 3D and AI Trends of 2023 with Gospooky

With social media at the forefront of millennial and gen z minds, and various new apps and platforms surfacing every day, it’s no surprise that the social media space has become an advertiser's playground. It began with the likes of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (now Meta), eventually moving into Snapchat and now TikTok – things are rapidly changing, and the space for content creation is out there.

That’s where Tim van der Wiel and Liam Tjoa, founders of social tech agency Gospooky, saw an opportunity. Fresh out of school with no industry experience, over the last six years they’ve grown the agency rapidly, working on campaigns and content for Snap, Jeep, MTV and even the Dutch government. With many creative projects under its belt, the company is now heading for the US, as they now open an office in New York. 

Founder of Gospooky, Tim van der Wiel and head of creative Tanya Ponomareva speak to LBB’s Nisna Mahtani about how the company started, the trends they expect to see and what’s next for the agency.

LBB> Tell us a little bit about Gospooky, how did you start and what do you do?

Tim> It started as the first Snapchat-focused agency in Europe. Over the past six years, we’ve broadened our scope to be a social technology agency. We have a really simple mission: to keep brands at the forefront of social. We’ve now broadened our scope across pretty much every major digital platform, with a focus on social platforms. 

We call ourselves a social technology agency, so we really combine the power of emerging social platforms with emerging technologies. Some of our work includes brands such as Amazon and Dior, and we work with platforms like Meta, Snap and TikTok. We’ve now opened our New York office, so there’s a lot happening.

LBB> When did you realise there was a gap in the market for this?

Tim> We started out in high school and neither I nor my co-founder Liam Tjoa had ever worked at an agency. Once we learned how the industry works and how advertisers were working, we felt a disconnect. Between what was happening on these platforms, how people were interacting and how brands were interacting, there was a lot of scope. The biggest mistake that brands are making is that they use these platforms like they use traditional advertising, as a distribution platform – a linear way of communicating.

We saw the opportunity to jump in and make a more contemporary and fresh approach to social media, especially with social technology. 

LBB> What are some of the tech platforms you use and the current trends in the market?

Tim> We are super focused on immersive technology, especially augmented reality because we believe that will be the next computing platform. We focus a lot on telling stories in 3D, in the real world and that’s such a different way of making things because we’re used to creating something within 100% of the pixels we see. If you create a movie or a photo, you own 100% of what the user sees, but in 3D, it takes something different – it’s one of the biggest and coolest opportunities in tech since the invention of film.

LBB> How is the agency structured and how is this different from what we usually see?

Tanya> We have a creative department, a technical arm and people who support the process. The structure is made to ensure creatives sit in the room with creative technologists and the team comes up with ideas that respond to the brand needs, and the creative needs, think of big ideas and add creative immersive tech. That way it becomes a holistic product. It serves people, brands and culture and that’s what we’re aiming for this year, to create more experiences that tap into tech and do something good for the world.

We approach our work through design thinking methodologies, moving away from a typical advertising model as we are not making ads but branding experiences which at the core are human-centered and therefore more leaning towards experience design.

LBB> Are there any campaigns or projects you’re particularly proud of?

Tanya> ‘Made’ is a fashion festival in New York and we created some really cool lenses with artists, which people could experience while they were attending fashion shows. We realised that people look at the models and garments but don’t feel like part of the process. So we made an AR lens that made them part of the process – they could virtually try on the clothes and they felt like they were more part of the collection. 

Tim> We did a campaign for Jeep in Canada where we made a custom machine learning model to recognise every Jeep grill. From there, people could see a Jeep car in the streets, take out their Snapchat camera and know which kind of Jeep they were looking at. So we created 1000s of new Jeep dealerships on people’s phones!

Tanya> When you think about Jeep, you do think about the grill and so we created – almost like a barcode - something that recognised that format and made something creative. We’re looking for a great idea and combine that with amazing technology to create something fruitful and unexpected for people. 

The other one I want to mention is the ‘Restart the Heart’ campaign. It’s the first campaign that immersively uses a lens to help young people learn how to restart someone's heart. It’s also being used by medical institutions and with the image of someone there, to help guide you through the process is groundbreaking in the medical field. It’s a really emotional piece and also benefits society.

LBB> What are the biggest social trends that you’re keen to implement or carry on with this year?

Tim> This will be the year of augmented reality. We expect Apple will launch a mixed reality headset as there’s been a lot of vagueness around the product – but we know that if Apple does something, it’s usually a game changer. We’re excited for there to be attention and a light shone on this technology. 

Besides that, we are seeing experiences brought into technology, for instance, AR on Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok is getting way more sophisticated – so we see that as a big trend. Another big trend focuses on virtual worlds, so platforms such as Roblox and Fortnite, backed by powerful game engines, those social environments will become a powerful trend. It’s also very interesting for marketers and brands because, unlike the ‘traditional’ social platforms, it gives more freedom to the brands.

Tanya> We believe that AI will become a commodity in 2023. The next thing will probably be music - you can generate anything out of it so it will become part of the process. It will likely become a tool for optimising, making things more efficient, and checking grammar. We hope that it can evolve to a level where it can generate unexpected concepts and ideas. 

A year from now, it will learn and evolve, connecting further with more sources and be more unexpected. Creativity is connecting the furthest dots possible and we’re really curious to see how it’s going to happen.

LBB> What’s next for Gospooky?

Tim> Last year, more than 70% of what we did was outside of the Dutch market. We’ve done campaigns in the States, so that’s the next big focus of ours. We’re super happy to finally have an office opening in New York, that’s our next step.

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futurefactor, Wed, 15 Feb 2023 15:48:00 GMT